Matthew McConaughey And the Delusion of Religious People

The ignorance and arrogance of religious people (and with that I usually mean “Christians” because I live in a country where Christianity is the predominant religion) never ceases to both amaze and repulse me.

I know the need to believe in a god and/or creator is a powerful one for a lot of people and often hard to resist; existential uncertainty can be terrifying and the idea of a daddy-figure who watches over you and takes care of you and makes it all ok – be it now or later in the “afterlife”  – is a powerful, reassuring and calming notion.

And isn’t that what religion ultimately is, an emotional pacifier enabling people to derive meaning from their otherwise seemingly arbitrary existence in an uncertain world at best and a tool to control, sway and subjugate the masses, at worst? As Karl Marx once said, religion is the opiate of the masses. It is “excellent stuff for keeping common people quiet [and what] keeps the poor from murdering the rich”  Napoleon once remarked.

So I get it, religion is useful for both those who have a seemingly innate need to believe and cannot fathom existence without a god and creator as well as for those who have understood how religion works and who subsequently have been exploiting that need to believe in order to push their own  – often sinister – agenda of control and subjugation in the name of god and holy entities.

So I certainly do understand the psychological need for religion and god but what I will never understand is how this need can be so strong that it subdues rationality, common sense and deductive reasoning leading to willful ignorance and right-out idiocy and callousness, which is so emblematic of religion and its followers.

matt mc C

God does seem to work in mysterious ways

Case in point, Matthew McConaughey and his best actor Oscar acceptance speech which he began by thanking and praising “god” for giving him “opportunities that are not of my hand or of any other human hand.” Religious conservatives cheered his acceptance speech as a brave strike against Hollywood’s pervasive secular bias, claiming that the Oscar crowd was “rattled” and “quieted” by McConaughey’s praise for the lord.

The truth of religion and god aside, it seems moronic, not to mention deeply arrogant and right out callous, for anyone to believe that an all powerful, benevolent supernatural being that allegedly created the entire universe with its billions of galaxies and trillions of stars and solar systems would care about the career and work of privileged thespians.

One would think “god” would have more important issues of life, death and suffering to contend with than being bothered about the career of athletes and Oscar trophies for millionaires.

Of course, when a non-religious person points out that these notions are facile at best and demeaning at worst, they risk being condemned as “strident,” “mean” and “haters” or at least disrespectful of religious sensibilities. However, since religious supremacy is the dominant paradigm in our society, and since atheists, according to a recent study done by a group of psychologists in the U.S. and Canada, are the least trusted of all listed categories aside from rapists, our society is skewed favorably towards religion and quite unfavorably towards critics of religion.

The emotional pull of our tribal identity almost always trumps our capacity to actually weigh the evidence, which is why facts, and deductive reasoning play such a tragically small role in everyday decision making by law-makers and the institutions of our society and thus are viewed with so much suspicion, leading to the kind of ignorant, blind, self-righteousness as exhibited by Matthew McConaughey and athletes in post-game interviews who seriously believe that it is absolutely plausible and reasonable to believe that an invisible deity who creates whole universes is also endlessly interested in their personal thoughts and successes and award-status.

Why is that a problem, you ask? Why not let McConaughey thank whomever and whatever he wants, be it god, trolls or hobbits? Because not criticizing ignorance to this extent and thus religious people, gives credence to their ignorant notions, aiding in their perpetuation with respect to all aspects of society and legislation. As long as we care more about catering to the religious and their sensibilities than we do about encouraging the open questioning of the claims of the faithful – claims that are, more often than not, detrimental, dehumanizing and harmful to people and society overall,  religious supremacy will continue fucking it up for the rest of us.

As Dante once said, the hottest places in hell are reserved for those who in times of moral crisis remain neutral.

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  1. #1 by Naphtali on March 7, 2014 - 5:07 PM

    Religion and Christianity have nothing to do with each other. Religion is man-made; idol ridden and full of mistakes. Christianity is a relationship with Jesus Christ. The understanding that God cannot be in certain places, such as Hollywood or Nigeria or the Sudan because evil lurks around every corner is simply untrue. He is everywhere because he is omni-present. Evil exists because this is a fallen world where the devil is real and attacking relentlessly to keep people from Jesus. What most don’t understand is evil slips in like the snake he is through cracks of our own choices, decisions and mistakes. God moves out of the way when that happens therefore being blamed for the destruction and havoc. You may be a liberal progressive; I am a Christian who knows the church has failed which is why so many don’t get it. That doesn’t mean God isn’t still here. In fact, he is showing up more and more; and will bring the church back to what it was meant to be.

    • #2 by popreflection on March 7, 2014 - 5:29 PM

      Christianity IS a religion and it was man-made. Jesus Christ is man-made, the god he is based on and whose son he is, is fiction, man-made. This is like saying Wizardry and Dumbeldorism have nothing to do with each other. Wizadry is man-made but Dumbledorism is about a relationship with Harry Potter. I really do not know how to argue with someone who lacks the basic understanding of what constitutes reality and what pure, unadulterated, fiction. Lady, you are telling me things that a fifth grader can disprove and they are abject nonsense.

      The point of this particular article was that – and I can only repeat what I already wrote hoping that this time you may actually be able to comprehend in your mind what I was trying to convey – which is that it is arrogant and right out callous for anyone to believe that an all powerful, benevolent supernatural being that allegedly created the entire universe with its billions of galaxies and trillions of stars and solar systems would care about, and prioritize, the career and work of actors, such as McConaughey over thousands of children starving everyday, for example.

      Interesting how evil seems to be concentrated on the African continent while god seems to have focused his grandness on Hollywood and athletes and the northern hemisphere.

      And “God moves out of the way when that happens”? Let me humor you and for a second assume, for argument’s sake, god was real and not the figment of your imagination and born out of the deep psychological need to believe in something grander than yourself. Let me assume that. So are you saying that said god saw evil do its thing and moved out of the way…lady, don’t you see a fucking problem with that? A god that just backs out and leaves his beloved children to suffer because of evil that he created in the first place. Are you really choosing to worship such a sadistic, selfish, genocidal god? I don’t even…

      And god is there? For whom? For the 85 people in the world <a href="http://www.forbes.com/sites/laurashin/2014/01/23/the-85-richest-people-in-the-world-have-as-much-wealth-as-the-3-5-billion-poorest/“>who own more than 3.5 billion people combined? For Matthew McConaughey and Tim Tebow? Are you listening to this ignorant dribble you utter? I find that very disconcerting yet emblematic of theists.

      • #3 by Naphtali on March 8, 2014 - 4:51 PM

        Just because you don’t believe in something doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist.

        If the birth, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ is a hoax, then history has wasted everything for nothing.

        If the Cross of Christ is real, then it’s history’s hinge.
        That piece of wood has caused nothing but controversy.

        It has been trashed, idolized, despised, gold plated and burned. But, it has not been ignored.

        How could the boy of a carpenter be the Savior of the World? A man but also God? Divine and eternal but also the death slayer?

        The cross is the timeline of history whether it is believed or not. The horror and tragedy of it draws those who suffer; the irrationality and illogicality attract the skeptics and doubters.

        For those searching for “what is the meaning of life” it is hope. Atheist/agnostics spend their time disproving it when they don’t believe it existed.

        To accept or reject Christ without truly knowing the reason for the Cross is like walking through life in neutral.

        God gave each person the “free will” to choose, but in his infinite mercy and grace whether he is chosen or rejected, nothing will ever stop him from loving you.

        • #4 by popreflection on March 8, 2014 - 10:43 PM

          Ma’am, there is absolutely no evidence for anything you just mentioned and described as being real. You may as well replace the words Christ with Hobbits and it would be just as absurd. This is not a matter of opinion any more than 2+2=4 is a matter of opinion.

          You sound like that guy Ray Comfort who, when asked what he would do if there was real proof that god, in fact, does not exist, responded that he will pray and ask “god” to give him the wisdom on what to do next.

          All that stuff you mentioned, Jesus, the cross, god and all that is fiction and the only “proof” you have for them, if one can call it proof, is a strong desire that it is so, also known as faith. I find it bizarre and tragic, really, that a human being with a full capacity of their mental faculties really seems incapable (or unwilling) to engage in basic deductive reasoning. You are trapped so deeply in your delusions, this intellectual coma, that you seem incapable of ever doing anything else. It is a pity, really. And quite disconcerting.

          • #5 by Naphtali on March 9, 2014 - 9:58 AM

            Popreflection: In reading comments you have posted with other bloggers your angry temperament at Christians or for that matter anyone who disagrees with you is sad which is all the more reason I repeat that God loves you. I have no idea what has happened in your life, but your words are a reflection of one in serious pain of past wounds. People who have been hurt, hurt others. You do not offend me at all. In fact I feel sorry for you. And I will pray for you and you can’t stop me.

          • #6 by popreflection on March 9, 2014 - 1:57 PM

            And here we go with the predictable, garbage tropes and underhanded insults against atheists and critics when all else fails: you are angry, you are bitter, you have no sense of humor, you are not loved and acting out of pain, you are wounded, you are misguided, i feel for you, i care for you – and the always patronizing “god loves you” blah blah fart. Lady you are the intellectual equivalent of a door knob hiding your ignorance, bigotry and sheer stupidity behind god, jesus, the cross and all the other made-up crap from the Bible. I know, I know, Christ was persecuted for his beliefs too and insulted and ridiculed and you, feeling so close to Christ and god, know exactly what it feels like to be persecuted for one’s beliefs, just like Jesus was, so whatever I tell you, doesn’t bother and insult you because you got Christ on your side, yeah yeah. –Now run along and back to your delusions – if that is what you need to make it through life – just don’t go voting for policies and regulations reflecting your garbage beliefs in fictitious things to make life miserable for the rest of us bitter, angry, unloved, misguided, wounded, and lost souls.

  2. #7 by myatheistlife on March 6, 2014 - 10:36 PM

    Very nicely said.

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